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As I opened up the spam folder in my email, I noticed two more messages about the new theme park that had just opened up only a couple hours outside of town, called Devil’s Manor. For the past few days, I’d been getting dozens of emails from them about it. Apparently, it was built around a massive said-to-be-haunted mansion, where a family was murdered only ten years ago. They even offered private tours of the original building.
I did some research on the murder to confirm that it was real, and not just some ploy to get people to visit. Surprisingly, I found quite a few records and news articles regarding it. The police officers described it as the most gruesome murder scene they’d ever encountered. Each family member was slowly and brutally murdered, one by one, using extreme medieval torture methods. The murderer still had yet to be caught, leaving barely a trace that he had been there, besides the disassembled corpses and torture devices, of course.
According to the emails, the reason they called it the Devil’s Manor is because the murderer left notes around the mansion, claiming that he or she was the devil himself. It sounded like the absolute perfect horror film! And being the curious horror and thriller fanatic that I am, I just had to check it out.
Around noontime, I made the final decision that I wanted to visit this sinister place, though I figured it would not be nearly as fun if I went unaccompanied. I called up my fellow thrill-seekers Dimity, Kate, Charles, and my new friend Crystal, telling them about the theme park, asking them if they wanted to accompany me. I just assumed they would already know about it from the news or in ads, tv - somewhere - but apparently, the only one who’d heard about it was Crystal. Though the others were very excited that they now knew about it, and each of them immediately and eagerly agreed to tag along. Together, we finalized our plans and decided that Crystal would meet us there at 6pm, and I would pick up the rest to bring them all there. I hung up.
I planned to leave around 3pm since it would take a while to get there and I had to go pick up the rest of them and I wanted to arrive at the park as the sun was going down to maximize the creepiness level. That would leave me with three hours to kill. I impatiently waited for the time to pass by, and finally decided to do some more research on the park. I logged onto my computer, typing “Devil’s Manor theme park” into the search bar, the lack of relevant results surprising me. Of course it was new, but surely there should have been some sort of information about it on the internet? I just shrugged it off, and blamed it on the newness of the park as I shut my laptop screen, irritated.
I looked up at the clock, seeing barely fifteen minutes had passed since I had called them. I picked at the sticker on the top of the laptop with my name, Persephone, on it in blue cursive. I heard the doorbell ring. I quickly got up, glad that it would be giving me something to do, and opened the door. The mailman had left me almost no mail. “So much for giving me something to do for three hours,” I mumbled to myself. I quickly glanced over the mail. Bills, bills, advertisements, more bills, a stupid magazine that I was supposed to have been unsubscribed to months ago- I threw it all on the coffee table, and got back on the couch. I sighed, resting my head in my hands, and closed my eyes.
I woke up, and immediately after stretching my arms and rubbing my eyes to wake myself up, checked the time, worried it might too late, and hoping it was about time to be on my way. It was neither. I’d only slept for half an hour, and still had to keep myself busy for a few more hours. After just sitting on the couch for five more minutes, I figured it would probably be best to not waste two hours of my life doing nothing and decided to be a bit more productive by cleaning up my house.
After a while of cleaning, I remembered that I had to keep track of the time, and looked down at my wrist watch to see that it was finally 3:15. I scurried to get ready, grabbing my purse, keys, and phone on the way out of the door, and jumped into my car, beginning on my way to pick up Charles, Dimity, and Kate. At last, our two-and-a-half hour journey to Devil’s Manor began.
The moment we had all been excited for finally came, as we drove down a gravel road through a wooded area leading to the underground parking garage of the theme park. I’d been expecting for it to be packed, but there were barely any cars there, and there were no signs of any other people. There wasn’t any trash on the ground, like there usually was at theme parks, and it was completely silent except for us four. It was also very dark with only a few lights, some of them flickering on and off. “M-maybe this is just to add to the creepiness of it?” Kate shakily said. “Probably,” I said, trying my best not to sound scared. I hoped we were right, but it seemed like I kept having to come up with excuses for peculiar things about the place.
“Hello?” My voice filled the garage, followed by an echo. I was hoping for Crystal, or a staff member, or anyone really at this point, to answer me. But there was no response. I realized it was very cold down here, and found myself wishing I had brought a jacket with me. I noticed that I wasn’t the only one either, when I saw Dimity, Charles, and Kate all shivering with their arms crossed. “It’s just to add the creepiness,” I repeatedly thought to myself.
We all waited there for just ten minutes, until 6:15, before we finally lost our patience. “Crystal should be here by now!” I suddenly yelled out, making everyone jump, sounding more restless than I had originally intended. “Why don’t we just go check it out already?” said Charles “Yeah, who cares about her? It’s her fault for being late,” Dimity said in response. We were all very anxious to see the park, and unanimously agreed on going without her.
We walked around, anxiously looking for the way out, when we saw a door with purple lights flashing around it and an electric sign above it reading, “TO THE PARK.” “I think that’s the way to the park,” Charles said as I tried so hard not to add a sarcastic thanks. He opened the door for us as we walked up the steps, and I could tell Kate was trying her best to stay in the back, practically pushing me and Dimity ahead of her. Although we were all lovers of horror and adventure and thrills, Kate wasn’t exactly the bravest of our group.
The stairs were quite steep, and there were lots of them. By the time we got to the top, we were all breathless, and my legs were starting to ache. I looked around, though, and right away, forgot about the pain.
It was all so beautiful - in a horrific, macabre kind of way, of course. There were piles of severed limbs everywhere, trails of blood on the ground as if a body had been dragged through the dirt, and several different contraptions that I guessed were replicas of different types of torture machines. I knew it was all fake, but it just seemed so real. I could have sworn I even smelled something that smelled like what I guessed death reeked of.
Next to us, I noticed there was a ticket stand. Standing beside it was a very tall, slim lady dressed up in some sort of creepy carnival costume with a golden mask on her face, giving her a permanent smile. Without saying a word, she pointed to a sign, that said “Tickets: $24.99.” As I handed her the money. She also pointed out another sign that said, “No cell phones, cameras, outside food or drinks, bags...” (the list went on and on)” and held out a large bucket. I was a bit confused on why they wouldn’t allow cameras, but I didn’t think too much of it, as all I wanted to do was to go check out everything. We all put literally everything but the clothes off our backs into the bucket, and she nodded in a way that said we were good to go.
I looked to my left and saw a large bulletin board with a sign above it that had “Visitors” crossed out and “Victims” written beneath it. It showed pictures of different people on what I assumed was some sort of ride with their names below them. They all looked terrified. But that’s what we’re here for: thrills.
And that’s exactly what we got. The attractions were absolutely amazing, and terrifying. One of the roller coasters, which was transparent and named the Hallucination, had made Kate vomit right after the ride ended. There was also a breathtaking carousel with gorgeous mythical creatures like dragons and griffins on it instead of horses with each and every detail looking elegant, yet eerie.
The only thing that concerned me was the lack of other visitors. We seemed to be the only ones there. I wasn’t very worried though, since I knew there was at least one other person here: the lady at the ticket stand. “It’s probably just because it’s so new and not too many people have heard about it yet,” I found that I kept telling myself.
We walked around some more, when Charles and Kate started to complain that they were getting peckish. After a bit of begging, Dimity and I convinced them to let us go to the haunted mansion first. Conveniently, when we got there, there was actually a cotton candy stand right outside of it, with the vendor dressed as a frighteningly realistic menacing clown with a bloody axe in-hand.
Dimity, being the fearless person she is, stepped right up and asked him for cotton candy, and to surprise us with the flavors. The clown just stood there, with a frown on his face, looking her straight in the eye. Even though I was so used to thriller movies and such, this was truly terrifying. “Um, hello?” Dimity said, slightly angry. The clown remained silent, and continued to stare as if he was looking right past her eyes, directly into her soul. I could tell Dimity was starting to get uncomfortable, maybe even a little scared, which was a rare occasion for her.
Then, the clown stepped aside, not taking his eyes off of us, revealing a door behind him. “Oh good, the cotton candy is back there, and he’s finally going to go get us some,” probably all of us were thinking. We were proven wrong when he opened the door, and out came six more eerily-dressed clowns, all with evil ear-to-ear smiles on their faces. And they all had weapons- real ones. And they were running towards us, weapons pointed.
Kate was the first one they caught, but all of us just kept on running for our lives, not daring to look back. Though we could still hear the loud and fast footsteps of the other clowns, motivating us to run even faster. We ran into the manor, hoping there would be somewhere for us to hide, and if not, a window to jump through.
The mansion really was quite blood-curdling. It was even more of a monstrous sight than the rest of the park. The air was frigid, the walls and floor were starting to come apart, blood was everywhere, as well as rotting innards and other mutilated body parts, and the odor was even stronger here than outside- death. Now, I wasn’t so sure this was all for the thrills anymore; at least, not the visitors’- or victims’ thrills.
I hid behind a large, inoperative gargoyle fountain for a quick chance to glance behind me and to rest for even the slightest moment, as I felt I could faint any second. “I never should have stopped,” I thought, as I saw three clowns peek through a doorway, immediately spotting me. There was nowhere to run; I was trapped. I kicked, screamed, punched, and clawed as two of them grabbed me by the arms as the third duct-taped my mouth shut and chained my arms and legs together, leaving me with no chance of escape; especially after I felt a blunt object smash into the side of my head and I slowly drifted into unconsciousness.
I woke up chained to a metal chair bolted to the floor with some sort of spiky contraption holding my head up, making it so that the slightest downward movement of my head would cause an extremely painful sensation in my neck and chest. I tried to look around the room with just my eyes, being careful not to move my head. Straight above me was Kate’s head hanging from the ceiling, mouth in a silent scream with eyes wide open, staring directly at me. Tears uncontrollably started to fall down my cheeks as I continued examining the room.
At the opposite side of the small room, I could see Charles’s body lying face down; at least, what was left of his body. I could tell by the way that the ropes were arranged where his limbs used to be that they had been pulled off his body, probably very slowly and one-by-one. The only thing left of him was his torso and detached head. It reminded me of a medieval torture device called the rack.
Through a small window, I could just barely see and hear Dimity, screaming and struggling, though the walls were too thick to hear her. She sat in a wooden tub with only her head sticking out, her body entirely painted in milk and honey. It looked like she’d been there for days. I realized which torture method this was: the tub. The milk and honey was for flies, maggots, and worms to slowly devour her alive.
In one corner of the room, I saw the group of clowns, now with their masks and face paint taken off, laughing and eating. By now, I knew what death smelled like. I immediately knew that it was human flesh they were chewing - the flesh of my friends. It took every effort to hold back my bile, but knew that I couldn’t move my head, so it would just flow all over me, and who knows how much longer I’d be here?
The smell was not the only thing I recognized. There was a throne-like chair, different from the rest. I saw, sitting upon it, the evil face of Crystal. “I told you I’d meet you here,” she said to me with a sinister smile upon her face. Even though I hadn’t known, perhaps it was not the greatest idea to befriend this brutal, cannibalistic murderer, and soon to be my murderer.
No, I couldn’t let that happen. Knowing that there would be no escape, and all that awaited me was extreme torture and a slow, excruciating death, I quickly forced my neck down, piercing my entire head directly through the center of the spike below it.